Technology has changed the way we consume knowledge, but nothing beats sitting back with a good book.
Reading is a lost art. With technology such as the nook and kindle, reading a book is even more of a lost art. In fact, since 1982, reading literature among adults has declined, to the point where less than 50% of adults in the U.S. read literature today. This is a problem. Reading literature is vital to one’s development and enhancement of culture and literacy.
Today, more people are watching TV at alarming rates, above 3 hours per day and growing. This is troubling news, as studies have shown that those who read regularly are more likely to attend culture and art events, participate in sports, volunteer and be more active in the community. So losing readers isn’t only losing readers, it’s losing active members in all aspects of society.
What are people doing instead of reading? Probably watching TV, playing video games or scrolling through social media. This too is a troubling sign. It’s a sign that we, as a whole, are losing our ability to concentrate, our attention span is shortening and we are losing our patience. Our constant need for fast-paced action and instant gratification has rendered us incapable of patiently reading a novel, waiting for the sense of gratification to come after a long build-up. We have become so jumpy with our time, that simply chilling on the couch and reading a book seems slow and boring. Why read through hundreds of pages for countless hours in search of emotions and feelings when you have YouTube? Want to feel humored? There’s a thirty second clip of a guy being chased by a lama. Want to feel uplifted? There’s a two-minute clip of an army vet successfully walking on prosthetics for the first time. Want to feel all mushy and gooey on the inside? There’s a four-minute clip (today referred to as short movie) of a cat and dog that are best friends. You see, the internet can replace reading a book. WRONG.
No matter how much instant gratification you can find on the web, and no matter how many endless options you have, nothing can beat the overwhelming emotions of reading a book. Since you invest your time in simply sitting down and reading, the emotions that you feel are enhanced. You go on a journey with the characters, learning to love them, hate them, feel for them and wonder how it all will end. Every flip of the page symbolizes progress, the progress you made in the book, the progress you made with the characters. The sense of fulfillment one feels at the end of a long novel is a feeling that no YouTube clip can offer. Letters forming words. Words forming sentences. Sentences forming chapters. And chapters forming the story. All printed and bound together to form the majestic object known to us all as a book.
Although bookworms are a dying breed, I’m sure that they will never be extinct. Books are simply irreplaceable. This is why I implore you to go back to the basics, pick up a book and read. Don’t feel like spending the cash on a new book? Go to your local library. Yes, they still exist. Yes, they still have countless shelves packed with unlimited amounts of books. Encourage your children to read, it’ll help their development. Encourage your elderly parents to read, it’ll help their cognitive functions and help them pass the time. Encourage your wife to stop watching “The Bachelor” and to pick up a book. Encourage your husband to get his head of sports for some quality reading time. You can choose the time, the place and the genre, but whatever you do, make it a point to start reading books again. And remember, there’s no pleasure like reading pleasure!